Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

29 April 2013: Spring 2013 initial impressions

Man and Old Man
The Hustler.

The preseason buzz for spring 2013 seemed fairly pessimistic. (Sort of seems that way more often than not lately.) Thankfully, this quarter is shaping out to be pretty decent, at least through the first third of the cour. I guess I was looking forward to Death Billiards from the name alone—turns out it's another excellent Anime Mirai short movie, by the way—and that show about giants eating people, and the second season of Railgun, so it's not as if I believed spring 2013 would be a total write-off. It turns out there are at least a couple of gems and one shiny rock to admire.

Ledo, Amy, and Bellows
Deep frying a turkey is actually pretty dangerous.

Suisei no Gargantia has been pretty good through the first three episodes, even though Team Rocket makes an appearance. I fully expect this science fiction tale to go off the rails sooner than later, but hopefully we're done with the moralizing against using a newly allied overwhelming force to disrupt a disadvantageous status quo. Their battles with the pirates are bananas. Why they don't encourage Amy's new best friend to air them ALL out while he's still happy to do so, I have no idea.

Sasha is good for more than just stealing food.

That show about the giants eating people is as good as I had hoped, even though Ellen is doing his level best to ruin Shingeki no Kyojin for me. Blessed be Haruhi, that kid needs a punch in the face. I understand that he's pretty upset that his mother died, but Shinn's mother died and he...wait, bad example. Kaoru's mom and Saga's mom both died and they did not turn into brats. Okay? Actually, I couldn't shake the bad vibes Eren gave me and decided to read all of the available manga chapters just in case he really does ruin the show. Without offering any spoilers, let me just say that I am not particularly pleased at the direction the manga takes, and I hope the path chosen does not degenerate to such a state that readers are forced to conclude the writer simply pulls the story out of his ass. However, I don't expect the anime to ever get to where the manga is now, unless it's got shounen jive longevity.

Have I ever seen an anime character get hurt from falling down before?

Hataraku Maou-sama! is a pleasant surprise and a good example of how a properly executed show can make an uninspired concept work. I do have a couple of concerns, though. For one thing, I hope the show doesn't work too hard to make ol' Satan to be a really great guy at heart while making some other underling (Spoilers: Lucifer) the real bad guy instead. It's possible to make Satan the hero of a story and still keep him evil, okay? I guess John Milton doesn't write many anime scripts these days, though. I'm also afraid it will go the same route as the latter seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel with disguised demons fully integrated with human society and encountered at every turn.

Cursing pacifist bitches out makes Shinn really thirsty.

The remastered Gundam SEED Destiny rebroadcast has had disappointingly few changes from the original broadcast version through its first three episodes. In fact, all of the changes I've noticed thus far (watching both versions side-by-side) have been extremely minor, and likely include only the revisions made for the Gundam SEED Destiny compilation movies. I'm disappointed because if ever there was a show crying for wild retconning, it is Gundam SEED Destiny. I'm not suggesting it's possible to fix the show's flaws through heavy-handed retroactive continuity, but it could potentially make it much more entertaining.

I hope Saten's batting helmet has a flower painted on the side.

I was looking forward to To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S because I enjoyed the first season, but the second and third episodes make me concerned it's going to end up more like Index than Railgun. Quite frankly, the show is really juvenile and relies on a lot of hand waving to advance its plot. I can excuse lazy writing when the end product is clever or charming, but the first scene of the season features Saten set upon by yet another pack of Academy City's limitless supply of roving hoodlums. Cursed by the anime prohibition against running without tripping, Saten appears in danger of a gang-type raping but is fortuitously saved by heroic main characters. Sadly, this represents one of the less contrived sequences of the first three episodes. I guess the show really works if you adore Mikoto and Kuroko on general principle, but I'd rather the show be about Saten playing sandlot baseball, eating crêpes, and humiliating her best friend Medaka-chan in public.

Mana emasculates another disciple.

Dokidoki! Precure took a dive when it introduced its magic baby. (It apparently looks like a regular baby to other people?) Thankfully, the show isn't as preoccupied with it as I had feared. Infant mascots aside, Dokidoki! Precure is pretty solid mahou shoujo entertainment, and I'm pleased its leads remain unusually competent.

No pressure, sweetie.

Straight Title Robot Anime finished its 12-episode run recently. Looking back, I feel its most entertaining moments all came from the improvised prop comedy segments with the seiyuu struggling to contain their laughter. When I think about it, Straight Title Robot Anime basically worked best as seiyuu radio given CGI life. I hope its producers see it as a successful crudely animated proof of concept in this respect and make more of that sort of thing.

Behold, the mighty vampire mecha pilot and king of Space Twitter.

Valvrave the Liberator is every bit as juvenile and terrible as you've heard. It's a ridiculous concept that could only have been created by people entirely ignorant of war but fascinated by the emerging role social media Social Media is playing in the globalization of otherwise regional conflicts. Oh, and made for an audience that apparently believes the edge of the world lies where the grounds of their school ends. That said, it's still very entertaining in a B-movie sort of way that is impossible to take seriously. It's not quite Guilty Crown in the sense that Guilty Crown at least tried to be high-concept in a flawed sort of way, but Valvrave hits a lot of "People Really Like This?" benchmarks, so I'll absolutely keep watching it as long as Potato-kun and his idiotic girl problems don't get in the way of The Man's inability to keep L-Elf down. Fight on, you crazy psycho.

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